Laying the groundwork
With a positive market in which to operate, specialist environmental contractor for brownfield transformation, McAuliffe Group, is confident about the future
McAuliffe Group began life back in 1970, when two brothers started out as groundwork contractors serving the construction market in and around Wolverhampton. Buoyed by a reputation for delivering high specification works to a number of large and successful projects, the company, now under secondgeneration family management, has become a leading specialist in the reclamation and remediation of brownfield sites. With many of the UK’s major housing developers featuring on the company’s client list, McAuliffe Group typically delivers projects in value from £100,000 to £5m from three sites in Wolverhampton,Manchester and London. The company completes its offering with sister company GeoStream UK, which provides process-based soil and groundwater remediation services to the UK market.
“Our solutions are tailored towards the requirements of the house builder,” begins Regional Director South, James Cartwright as he explains why the company is able to occupy a competitiveposition in the market. “We won’t just go on site to do basic demolition and concrete removal; we make sure the site is excavated and compacted suitably for the final development work.” Using the years of experience and unrivalled knowledge present in the company, McAuliffe Group works closely with its customers to understand the site’s specific needs and work accordingly. “For instance, if it’s going to require simple foundations we will have to do a lot of compaction and earthwork, but if it’s going to be piled then we have to ensure that the site is remediated appropriately,” adds James.
The expertise and competence required to carry out the groundworks and remediation is a critical part of any brownfield development project, and McAuliffe Group is well suited to deliver to the needs of its clients. “One of the biggest challenges for us to overcome is tight timetables,” James highlights. “Once a house builder has acquired a site they will only recover their investment by selling the units on. Therefore, if we can deliver a quick turnaround it has a big impact on their cash flow. Cost also comes into this, as with many of the major house builders ground works and foundation design is one of the only places they can find cost competitiveness, so we have to be able to deliver a cost effective service.”
It is not just the expertise that McAuliffe has that enables it to deliver to these challenges, but also its acceptance and integration of new technology. James continues: “It has been a talking point for a number of years within the industry, but intelligent, computer-controlled equipment is only just making its way onto site, and over half of our plant is now GPS enabled. This allows our operators to work within very tight tolerances and work around the development footprint very accurately, without other time-consuming on-site work. This saves both time and money for our customers.”
In regards to McAuliffe Group’s scope of ongoing work, the company is continuing to demonstrate its leading capabilities in a number of projects up and down the country including a large site in the North West, which used to host a cable factory but is currently being developed into housing. “This is quite a complex job, which requires a lot of removal of foundations and waste material as well as fixing a lot of the levels,” outlines James. In addition, the company has been working on two landfill contracts to dig out, reprocess and compact the sites ready for building development, as well as a number of specialist outlines James. In addition, the company has been working on two landfill contracts to dig out, reprocess and compact the sites ready for building development, as well as a number of specialistjobs with GeoStream UK dealing with hazardous waste material.
With these successes fuelling the company’s progress, McAuliffe Group’s future looks positive with a booming housing industry and new opportunities opening up in the London and the South East. Prompting the company to open up its London office in 2015, James comments on the state of property development opportunities in the region as climbing prices make previously avoided sites economic to develop on, despite their inherent challenges. “We are seeing a lot more sites, which have been hanging around for years, opening up for development and ground works are critical to making these suitable for construction,” he says. “Therefore a new demand gap is widening and we hope to be able to fill it.”
The forward vision for the company very much reflects this growing opportunity. “Over the coming months we will be focusing carefully on continuing what we’re doing at the moment but also expanding our geographical spread into the south and broadening our client base,” concludes James. “Whilst we work for many of the major house builders in the country there is still room to grow, so this will be key. In the longer term we have a solid growth plan in place, which will allow us to serve other sectors and further expand our offering.”
Services: Specialist environmental contractor for brownfield transformation